RE: Misleading and inaccurate information on waiting times for NHS treatment
I write to you regarding the above matter.
I was deeply concerned to read a news article in The Times newspaper, on 29th September 2022, claiming that “[p]eople on waiting lists for procedures such as hip and knee replacements are waiting six weeks longer than suggested by the NHS Inform patient portal’.
NHS Inform is Scotland’s national health information service for the people of Scotland, which is supposed to provide ‘accurate and relevant information to help them make informed decisions about their own health and the health of the people they care for’. It is very concerning, therefore, to hear that concerns have been raised about the accuracy of the information presented on this website, including by senior clinicians.
The correct use of statistics and data is vital to encourage public confidence. Patients, in particular, rely on accurate wait times to get through the long weeks before surgery. Releasing inaccurate time scales gives false hope to those languishing on waiting lists.
It is imperative that the public have faith in the accuracy and truthfulness of statistics that are cited by Government ministers. As such, I would be grateful if you could investigate and provide guidance on the matter.
MSP for Dumbarton